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Gender Approaches In The Study Of The Digital Economy: A Systematic Literature Review

Mónica Grau-Sarabia, Mayo Fuster-Morell

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AbstractThe data and debates around the negative impact of online work for women’s work-life balance during the digital acceleration generated by the COVID-19 crisis have lent greater relevance to the study of gender and the digital economy. This paper sheds light on this complex relationship by systematically studying the research on gender in the digital economy over the last 25 years. The methodology used is a systematic literature review (SLR) of scientific works and policy papers across different social sciences from 1995 to 2020 in the Google Scholars and Scopus databases. The SLR has resulted in the creation of three samples on which a quantitative and qualitative analysis was carried out to evaluate the volume of the research, trends across time, gender approaches and study topics. The general conclusions indicate that gender approaches to the digital economy stem from a wide range of academic disciplines, and also that there is a lack of theoretical consistency about gender analysis. First, the paper provides an overview of the volume of works and an analysis of some trends across time. Second, it identifies the three main gender approaches applied to the digital economy: (1) the ‘feminist theory of technology and ICT’ approach; (2) the ‘feminist political economy’ approach; (3) the ‘mainstream economic analysis and women’s participation and labour in the digital economy’ approach. Moreover, it distinguishes eight main gender analysis issues within these three approaches. Finally, the paper concludes by identifying future developments for a feminist political economy framework for the digital economy.